Dissent is not hate speech

13 Jun

A common way religious factions try and dismiss Atheists around the United States is to simply call their views hate speech. Not only are Atheists views not “hate speech”, but the supremely ironic thing is that often these very same religious factions spout actual “hate speech”.

Atheists: “We are citizens too and we want a voice at the table.” Hate speech?

Religious factions: “God hates fags and homosexuality is a sin. Gays will BURN in HELL!” Not hate speech?

Atheists: “You don’t need god to be good.” Hate speech?

Religious factions: “Without following our holy book you cannont possibly have a moral foundation, therefore all non-believers are immoral scum.” Not hate speech?

Atheists: “We are all born free and equal, with no debts or chains.” Hate speech?

Religious factions: “Everyone is born a sinner and most continue on in life as filthy sinners. You should be disgusted with yourself and ashamed. Only we have the formula for becoming clean.” Not hate speech?

I could go on, but you get the idea. Atheists are not the ones threatening and degrading other people, yet we get slapped with the label of “hate speech” in an attempt to silence our voice.

Religious billboards are everywhere. So are religious bumper-stickers and fish. Lots of people wear crosses around their necks or have them dangling from their rear view mirrors. Religious radio stations flood the air waves, there are plenty of religious shows on TV, even full time religious channels. Religious books permeate the grocery store shelves. The religious fill the halls of government on all levels, boldly and proudly spouting their beliefs in Iron Age desert gods. The fact that religion has a privileged place in American society is self-evident, yet when Atheists try to be included in the society we are shot down. No, our message of independence and freedom from fear, reliance on reason, the intrinsic value of human life, human rights, and responsibility for one’s actions are dismissed as hate speech.

2 Responses to “Dissent is not hate speech”

  1. Adam Call Roberts June 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    You’re right – both theists and atheists need to distinguish between dissent and hate, and avoid the latter. (And to be fair, there are plenty of atheists who spread hate as well) But I think you’re spot-on in noticing that accusing someone of “hate” is an easy way to shut down discussion in contemporary America.

  2. Scott W June 13, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Well stated! Although I am not an atheist (I believe there is a power greater than me, although I am not sure we can even comprehend “God”) I do believe in love and compassion for our fellows. Religion was created by man, and many religions try to persuade and lead their congregations through fear… a tactic used well by the Bush administration and Fox “news”. What happened to the teachings of Jesus Christ, who emphasized love, not hate and fear?

    In closing, I believe that religion is for people who are afraid to go to hell, and spirituality is for those of us who have been there.

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